Frances Loeb Library


Who may use the Frances Loeb Library?

Harvard ID holders, those with Special Borrower cards, and Frances Loeb Library (FLL) Access cardholders have access to the library and its collections.  A valid Harvard ID or Special Borrowers card must be presented when borrowing books.

Use of the Library by those without a Harvard ID is restricted to individuals pursuing research in the design fields, and is at the discretion of the Library.

There are two types of access available to the Loeb Library: FLL Access cards and Special Borrower Cards.

Visitors may apply for FLL Access cards or Special Borrower cards at the Service Desk from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday.

Frances Loeb Library (FLL) Access Cards

The Access card allows patrons to use the library materials on-site, but borrowing privileges are not included.  Visiting researchers and alumni may apply at the Service Desk for an FLL Access Card. 

  • A $10 fee is required at the time of registration (cash and checks only). This fee will be waived for Harvard alumni and for researchers with a valid ID from other academic institutions.
  • A photo ID is required for registration.
  • The FLL Access Card will be valid for the duration of research.

Special Borrower Categories

Special Borrowers cards from the Harvard College Library are honored for the following categories:

  • Faculty research assistant (proxy) cards
  • Special Borrowers card issued under the MIT Reciprocal Borrowers Agreement
  • Special Borrowers cards issued to Student, Faculty or Staff spouses (upon application at the Service Desk).
  • Special Borrower cards purchased for borrowing privileges at the Frances Loeb Library

All other Special Borrower cards issued by other Harvard Libraries (for example, Harvard College Library Special Borrower Card) or other University I.D.'s are not valid for borrowing, although these are valid for stack access.

Applications for Special Borrower Cards

To apply for a faculty research assistant (proxy) card, fill out the Application for Research Assistant Library Borrower's Card, have your faculty sponsor sign the form and bring it to the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library.

MIT Reciprocal Borrowers should fill out the online form at  You will then receive an email with instructions for how to get the Special Borrower card.

Individuals may purchase borrowing privileges for the Loeb Library for a fee of $250 per year, or $100 for four months.  GSD alumni may obtain privileges for half price ($125 per year or $50 for four months).  For Loeb Library Special Borrower cards:

  • A photo ID is required for registration.
  • A "Frances Loeb Library Special Borrower" picture I.D. is issued. 
  • This card is nontransferable and valid only at the Frances Loeb Library in the Graduate School of Design.   Borrowing privileges at the Loeb Library will not transfer to other Harvard Libraries.  To borrow at other Harvard Libraries, you would need to purchase privileges from those libraries.
  • Special borrowers do not have access outside the library to licensed electronic resources

HOLLIS (Harvard Libraries Catalog)

The HOLLIS Catalog of the Harvard University Libraries is a database containing over 9 million records for more than 15 million books, journals, manuscripts, government documents, maps, microforms, music scores, sound recordings, visual materials, and data files. The database is updated continually as material is ordered, received, and cataloged. Materials in the Frances Loeb Library can be located through HOLLIS.

HOLLIS  is available through the internet from any computer worldwide. The Loeb Library provides computers with open browsers for accessing HOLLIS, four on the first level and one on the lower level. Other library computers are restricted to GSD students, faculty and staff and require a GSD login ID and password.

Other On-Line Resources

In addition to HOLLIS there are many on-line resources created by Harvard University and the University Libraries which are available world-wide without restriction, including VIA (The Harvard Visual Resources Catalog), OASIS (The Harvard Manuscript and Archive Finding Aid Catalog), and some other digital collections available through the Library Main Page.

The Harvard University Libraries also subscribe to many commercial on-line Resources including the Avery Index, LexisNexisAcademic, and others. Most commercial resource subscriptions are restricted to Harvard students, faculty and staff, who may access them world-wide through our web page (a Harvard University ID and Pin Number is required). A list of Current Periodicals received by the Loeb Library and their locations is also available on-line.

Most internet resources including the commercial subscriptions may be accessed at the computers in the Library Reading Rooms on first floor and lower level. There are four computers on the upper level and one on the lower level which may be used by any library visitor. There are also seven additional computers restricted to GSD students, staff and faculty (a GSD logon and password is required). None of the library computers have word or data processing software available.

Wireless access is available for laptop use in the Library Reading Rooms. Wireless access can be through the wireless SSID entitled "Harvard University" or the "GSD network". The "Harvard University" network extends throughout much of the Harvard campus, is open to any Harvard user with an HUID and PIN, and will support web-browsing and email. Only the 'GSD' network will allow you to connect to GSD-owned software (Keyserved) or to map a network drive. Only GSD-affiliated students can connect to the 'GSD' wireless network. More detailed instructions are available through the Computer Resources web page. Data ports are also available in both Reading Rooms allowing wired access to the internet.

Copyright Restrictions for Online Resources

All Harvard users must respect the copyrights in works that are accessible through computers connected to the Harvard network. No copyrighted work may be copied, published, disseminated, displayed, performed or played without permission of the copyright holder except in accordance with fair use or licensed agreement. This includes music, movies and other copyrighted material. Harvard may terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyright of others. Students with questions about copyrights or this policy are invited to raise those questions with any dean, tutor or academic officer. Staff supervisors and members of the Faculty are welcome to call the University's Office of General Counsel.

Licensed electronic resources are restricted to members of the Harvard community and to on-site users of Harvard's libraries for purposes of research, teaching, and private study. Commercial use and systematic downloading, copying or distributing of information are expressly prohibited. Users are individually responsible for compliance with these terms.

Other Harvard Libraries

The total holdings of all libraries at the university numbers over 12.5 million volumes. A map and guide to the major Harvard University libraries is available at the Loeb Library circulation desk.

While a few Harvard library buildings are open to the public, most require a valid Harvard ID for admittance. Borrowing privileges, which vary, are generally limited to current members of the Harvard community. For specific information on admittance, borrowing, hours, and services in specific Harvard libraries, visit

Patrons with Disabilities

The Frances Loeb Library is responsive to special needs of the physically disabled. Access for the disabled to the lower level via the west lobby elevator can be arranged by contacting the circulation desk. A rest room equipped for the disabled is available on the lower level of the library.

Responsibility of Library Users

Students, staff, faculty members, researchers, visitors, and other users of the library who fail to comply with library rules will be subject to revocation of library privileges, disciplinary action, and legal prosecution. In particular, the unauthorized removal from the library of any book, manuscript, microform, or other materials or property, or destruction, defacement or abuse of any library materials or other resources are matters of grave concern. All library users will be subject to the fines and penalties of the Graduate School of Design and of the University as well as the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts governing crimes against property. 

The University's libraries are for the use of authorized members of the University and scholarly community. Except when specifically authorized for use to a designated commercial user, the systematic exploitation of library resources, including its databases, for profit is prohibited. It is inappropriate for students and others to sell data, or to act as agents for those who do, or otherwise to use their library privileges other than for their personal use. 

Library users should not leave personal belongings unattended while in the library. The library is not responsible for lost or missing items of personal value. 

Food, smoking, pets and cell phone use are not permitted in the library.

Only beverages in spill-proof containers are permitted.

Frances Loeb Library: General Information: Access

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